Nadal, Medvedev advance to Rogers Cup final

Daniil Medvedev of Russia serves against compatriot Karen Khachanov. (AFP)
Updated 12 August 2019

Nadal, Medvedev advance to Rogers Cup final

  • Nadal will face eighth-seeded Daniil Medvedev

MONTREAL: Top-seeded defending champion Rafael Nadal of Spain advanced to the Rogers Cup final Saturday night when Gael Monfils of France withdrew before their semifinal.

Nadal will face eighth-seeded Daniil Medvedev, a 6-1, 7-6 (6) winner over sixth-seeded Karen Khachanov in the all-Russian first semifinal.

“It’s extra special,” Medvedev said about facing Nadal for the first time. “I played Novak (Djokovic) and Roger (Federer) a few times. It’s different ... there is some extra pressure.”

Nadal won last year in Toronto for his fourth title in the event. He has 82 singles victories, winning the French Open in June for his second title of the year.

Monfils, seeded 16th, outlasted 10th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) in a match suspended Friday night because of lightning. Monfils finally finished off Agut after a rain delay Saturday, but battled a sore left ankle that forced him to pull out of the semifinal.

“I love these matches, night session, Rafa,” Monfils said. “I play tennis for that — for the big moments, big shows. It was safest decision not to play.”

Monfils consulted with his coach about the decision to withdraw.

“He said, ‘You can’t take the risk,’” Monfil said. “I had retired in Wimbledon. I came back. I played this week. I had played a huge match. It was risky to play another match because I could risk hurting myself for real.”

In Toronto, teenager Bianca Andreescu advanced to the Rogers Cup title match with a 6-4, 7-6 (5) victory over Sofia Kenin on Saturday, becoming the first Canadian in 50 years to make the women’s final.

The 19-year-old Andreescu, from nearby Mississauga, will face Serena Williams on Sunday.

“The crowd will obviously be for her, but it’s really not about that,” Williams said. “It’s just about going out there and playing your great tennis. Luckily, I’ve had some tough crowds in my career, so hopefully I will be used to it.”

Canadians Faye Urban and Vicki Berner played in the 1969 final, with Urban winning the tournament that was played on clay and called the Canadian Open.

“For sure there’s some pressure, but I have nothing to lose, really,” Andreescu said. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m just going to try and stay in the present moment.”

Williams beat Czech qualifier Marie Bouzkova 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the second semifinal.

The 37-year-old Williams is ranked 10th and seeded eighth in her first event since losing the Wimbledon final. She won in 2001, 2011 and 2013 — all in Toronto — and has a tournament-record 34 victories in 38 matches. The American won the last of her 72 singles titles in the 2017 Australian Open.

Andreescu is returning from a right shoulder injury that sidelined her since the French Open in May. She won in Indian Wells in March for her first WTA Tour title.


Liverpool make U-turn over furlough scheme after clubs slammed

Updated 06 April 2020

Liverpool make U-turn over furlough scheme after clubs slammed

  • Liverpool faced stinging criticism from fans and former players after revealing over the weekend that they wanted to use the UK government’s furlough scheme
  • The fierce backlash sparked a sudden climbdown as Liverpool CEO Peter Moore wrote an open letter to supporters announcing they would no longer pursue the furlough route

LONDON: Liverpool were forced to apologize as the Premier League club ditched their controversial plan to furlough non-playing staff during the coronavirus on Monday, while FIFA urged players and clubs to reach agreement over wage reductions.
Liverpool faced stinging criticism from fans and former players after revealing over the weekend that they wanted to use the UK government’s furlough scheme.
Fenway Sports Group, Liverpool’s US-based owners, wanted to put around 200 staff on enforced leave during the pandemic while the government paid 80 percent of their wages.
Fellow top-flight teams Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich have already furloughed staff, but it was table-toppers Liverpool — with pre-tax profits of £42 million ($51.7 million) for the 2018-19 season — who came in for the most criticism, in part due to their reputation as a club with a strong bond to the working-class community on Merseyside.
The fierce backlash sparked a sudden climbdown as Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore wrote an open letter to supporters announcing they would no longer pursue the furlough route.
“We have consulted with a range of key stakeholders as part of a process aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for all concerned,” Moore said.
“We have opted to find alternative means despite our eligibility to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week to announce that we intended to apply to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme and furlough staff due to the suspension of the Premier League football calendar, and are truly sorry for that.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher tweeted: “Well done @PeterMooreLFC @LFC a big mistake initially & thankfully now it’s been put right.”
With the Premier League postponed indefinitely because of the virus, Manchester City, bankrolled by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour, said they would not be using the government’s job retention scheme, with Manchester United set to follow their example.
Liverpool’s U-turn came as England’s top-flight teams, among the richest in the world, were under increasing scrutiny, with government ministers warning bosses and players they should “think carefully” over their next moves.
The highest-paid Premier League players such as Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne command eye-watering salaries, reportedly nearing £20 million ($25 million) a year.
FIFA on Monday urged clubs and players to reach agreement on taking wage reductions in order to protect clubs who are suffering financial damage, sources at world football’s governing body said.
It also recommended that players’ contracts be extended until the end of the interrupted football seasons and that the transfer window should not open until that time.
The call from FIFA comes as Premier League clubs are locked in talks with players and their representatives about taking pay cuts.
The English top flight is lagging behind other European leagues.
In Spain, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid players have agreed to pay cuts of 70 percent.
Many politicians have urged action from the Premier League and in a poll conducted by British polling company YouGov last week, 92 percent of respondents said they backed a pay cut.
But some leading players resent the political pressure. Former England captain Wayne Rooney has criticized the government and the Premier League for placing footballers in a “no-win” situation.
“In my opinion it is now a no-win situation,” Rooney said in a newspaper column. “Whatever way you look at it, we’re easy targets.”
In the latest sign of the financial crisis as a result of the coronavirus, England manager Gareth Southgate and the Football Association’s top earners have agreed to take wage cuts of up to 30 percent.